Family Group Movement Collage

Family Group Movement Collage

A Word From Our Patron

'Family Groups offer our Catholic communities the chance to become more family-sensitive, friendly and welcoming, in line with the objectives of the Bishops’ collaborative pastoral initiative: Everybody’s Welcome. At their best, Family Groups offer understanding, friendship and support to all, encourage and celebrate family life in its myriad forms, and help everyone in the parish feel that they belong. I am delighted to be the patron of the Family Group Movement (England & Wales), and to endorse this initiative.'

Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Stockport's Family Groups Enjoy the First National Family Groups Mass

Many thanks to Stuart Monteith, of Our Lady and the Apostles Parish, Stockport for the following reflection on the first National Thanksgiving Mass for Family Groups in England and Wales.

'On 6th May we were lucky enough to go with Fr Pat and 20 other members from the Family Groups in Our Lady's Parish, Stockport to Northampton Cathedral to help celebrate and witness the 1st National Family Group Mass. It was a lovely day. We were made very welcome by Bishop Peter Doyle and we all enjoyed a lovely occasion.

We were among one of nine parishes present from different parts of the country with Family Groups to take one of the special candles, that was lit from the Paschal Candle, back to our parish and be the light of Christ.  The candle is now placed near the Altar in our Church as a living reminder of Family Groups in our parish and the great difference they make in having a welcoming parish where there is room for everyone.

Two of the younger families who went to Northampton shared their experience with the rest of the parish during Mass. It was very interesting hearing about the stories of other people from the different parishes.

I remember one lady saying that you don't need to have a family to be in a Family Group as we are all members of one large family, the family of God.  I think that stuck with me as after Mass on Sunday we go out to the Guild Room through the Garden Area, which we created together, for drinks and biscuits have a laugh and talk just like any family would, while the children have a place to play.

It's been a few years since Fr Peter and Gwen came from Australia and helped set up our Family Groups; a small idea that has grown into something global.

Since then we have set up four groups that have formed into our parish  a loving community, turning faces into names, acquaintances into friends and giving love an support to one another in the light of Christ. 

One of our Groups is for older people, many of whom live on their own. They meet in the Presbytery on the second Wednesday of the month; one special activity is raising funds for a parish in Peru and keeping in touch with their news.

We were privileged to share an evening with 
the Australian delegation prior to going to Northampton.  They left us a small candle on which there is an image of the little Church, St Anthony's back in New South Wales, where it all began. 

They left this to remind us of their loving support for us and that we are carrying on the torch which began with Fr Peter and lighting the spirit in the hearts of our community.'

If you have news or pictures to share from your parish Family Groups please email

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Family Groups National Thanksgiving Mass

On Saturday 6th May 2017 200 Family Group members and friends from England, Wales and Australia gathered in the Cathedral Church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Thomas of Canterbury, Northampton for the first national Thanksgiving Mass of the Family Group Movement in England and Wales. The Mass was concelebrated by Bishop Peter Doyle, Archbishop Peter Smith, Bishop Tom Williams, Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Canon David Paul, Father Philip Glanfield, Fr Paul Standish, Canon Mark Floody and Fr Pat Munroe (Family Groups’ Chaplain).

In his homily Bishop Peter Doyle said,
Family Groups fulfil the role of accompaniment in just the right way for all of us whether we are single, married, separated or divorced or widowed… and may I encourage you, and my fellow bishops and brother priests, to promote more and more this simple but profound way of drawing us together in communion with the Christ who has died, who is risen, and who will come again.’
The Mass included a special candle commissioning for each of the Family Group parishes, and was followed by a wonderful, shared buffet lunch which gave people a chance to catch up with their fellow Family Group members from around the country. In the afternoon, people from some of the Family Groups gave some very interesting and poignant testimonies of what Family Groups have meant to them.

If your parish has any Family Group news that you would like to share on this blog, or other queries, please EMAIL the editor with the details and high resolution photos, if available. 
If you would like more information on the Family Group Movement of England & Wales, please contact the National Steering Group for Family Groups  please EMAIL

Monday, 13 March 2017

Update From The National Steering Group

The Steering Group for the Family Group Movement in England and Wales continue to meet quarterly and consider a range matters in relation to the strategic vision and growth of Family Groups across England and Wales.

We are busy preparing for our 1st National Mass and Shared Lunch on 6th May 2017 at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady Immaculate & St Thomas of Canterbury in Northampton, hosted by our patron Bishop Peter Doyle. Invitations have now gone out - and all are welcome! If you haven't received your invitation please get in touch at 

At a recent meeting of the Steering Group the following prayer, which originated from one of our newest Family Group Parishes, was adopted as our Family Group Prayer and we ask all groups to consider using it at appropriate times:

Lord, your Son Jesus taught us to give the gift that can’t be bought or sold, the gift of love. Fill our hearts with your love and help us to share these gifts with others today and every day. Help us to welcome others as our family, reminding us that we are all God’s family. 
All are welcome.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

St Michael's & St Bernadette's Family Groups Whitefield, Greater Manchester - 9th Birthday Celebrations

Congratulations to St Michael's and St Bernadette's Family Groups who celebrated their 9th Birthday late in 2016.

A celebration Sunday lunch was arranged in the parish centre and 100 people attended.

After lunch the Friends of St Bernadette's School Choir provided entertainment with a medley of songs from Les Miserables.  Everyone sang a resounding "happy birthday" and enjoyed coffee and birthday cake; a lovely family celebration!

The Family Groups in the parish are still going strong with new members joining regularly. Here's looking forward to the next 9 years !
If you have Family Groups news you would like to share on this blog please email 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Launch of Family Groups at St Teresa's, Upholland

We are delighted to share with you the following report on the launch of our newest Family Groups in England and Wales:-

Initial interest in Family Groups started at St Teresa's when a member of the parish Focus Team attended a workshop at Proclaim '15 on developing Family Friendly Parishes. The idea was discussed in the parish and the Focus Team then invited Chris and Vince Joyce (Co Chair of the National Steering Group England & Wales) to share their experience of leading Family Groups in their own Parish, St Michael & Bernadette's, in Whitefield (Salford Diocese) where the initiative has been working successfully for nearly ten years.

The parish was keen to get the 'grass roots' perspective and to learn first hand how Family Groups could enhance the life of a parish. The Focus Team were given plenty of support from Chris and Vince and tremendous encouragement from their Parish Priest, Fr Philip Kehoe, as they worked towards a September launch.  A Coordinator Team (Bernard and Margaret ) were appointed. They produced articles for the School and Church newsletters and spoke at a meeting for new parents of Reception intake pupils - inviting them all to join in with this exciting new parish initiative. A fantastic launch weekend followed at the end of September, supported by Chris and Vince and National Steering Group member, Maureen O'Brien. 90 applications were received and 3 groups were formed immediately. Some of those who signed up were able to return to the parish hall on the Sunday afternoon to meet their groups and arrange their first meeting. At the celebrations to mark St Teresa's Feast Day, the following weekend, four more families signed up and were absorbed into the existing groups.

At the time of writing all groups have held their first meeting and drawn up a programme of events for the coming months. There is a real buzz and excitement in the parish as the leader teams work together to build solid foundations and to get Family Groups firmly established in the parish.

We wish them every success!

For all enquiries about Family Groups please email and a member of the Steering Group will be in touch. If you have Family Group pictures or news you wish to share on this blog please email

Monday, 22 February 2016

Birthday Celebrations Light Up St Mary's Parish Ipswich

Many thanks to John Cassidy for sending the following report to us:

'It was a miserably cold January Saturday afternoon and Ipswich Town FC were playing at home in the 3rd round of the Cup. Despite this, over 40 people turned up in our Parish hall to celebrate our 3rd year in existence. A beaming Fr John welcomed representatives from all our Groups and from both churches in the parish and introduced our two new co-ordinators, Angie & Caroline who had organised the festivities. The tables heaved with food, as usual, and though there was bunting and balloons galore, it was more in the nature of a lively chat & catch up, than a wild party. A young mother and her two children came, for the first time “just to see” but signed up before they left as did an elderly lady who enjoyed herself so much  that she declared “I might as well join up now!” Nearly a dozen nationalities (from 4-92 years) mingled happily for the afternoon between pizzas and Chocolate Brownies and vowed to start the New Year diet “tomorrow”. 

Before Christmas, the highlight of Family Group events was the Curry & Carols evening, organized by our young families Group. It was declared to have been wonderfully enjoyable!'

For further information about developing Family Groups in your parish please email and a member of the national Steering Group in your area will get in touch. If you have Family Group pictures or news you wish to share on this blog please email

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A Year of Fun and Fundraising for Our Lady of Victories' Family Groups

It has been 12 months of hard work and fun for the Family Groups in Our Lady of Victories Parish, Kensington. They have raised awareness and funds for local charities including Nazareth House and have provided fellow parishioners with a packed programme of events: a pamper evening, cupcakes and Pimms in June, a Curry & Quiz Night in July and a very well attended 1940’s/1950’s Sing-along and Champagne Brunch in September.

On 14th November the Family Groups will be hosting their popular annual Dinner and Dance Auction Evening. Parish Coordinator Glenda Clarke told us that tickets are selling quickly, local businesses and supermarkets have donated gifts and there will be plenty of youthful hands on deck as the Post Confirmation Group have agreed to help in the kitchen. The last event of 2015 is another well established tradition in the parish - the annual Christmas Hamper creation day, on Sunday 6th December. We wish the parish and the Family Groups leadership team the very best for these events and for the coming year.                                                      

If your parish has any Family Group news that you would like to share on this blog, or other queries, please EMAIL the editor with the details and high resolution photos, if available. 
If you would like more information on the Family Group Movement of England & Wales, please contact the National Steering Group for Family Groups  please EMAIL

Family Groups Get Started in St Mary's Crowborough

Family Groups were launched in the Parish of St Mary's, Crowborough, in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton at the end of June 2015. One of the newly formed groups met for the first time on Saturday 3rd October and shared fresh coffee and home-made cakes and chatted and got to know each other better. They also arranged their next meetings which will be a walk in the woods (weather permitting) after Sunday morning Mass in November and an evening of board games in January. In December all the groups will be getting together for a Christmas social hosted by St Mary’s Parish Family Groups but open to everyone. For more information please contact St Mary's Parish Priest Fr Kevin Griffin on 01892 654608.

If your parish has any Family Group news that you would like to share on this blog please email and if you would like to speak to a member of the National Steering Group for Family Groups  please email

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Family Group Gatherings are Picture Perfect

May gatherings at St John Vianney Parish, Northwich and St Mary's Parish, Ipswich provided the perfect setting for filming a new DVD for the Family Group Movement in England and Wales. The crew spent a day in each parish conducting filming interviews with pastors, parish coordinators and group leaders and then captured the simple beauty of the Family Groups 'in action.' The gathering in Northwich, organised by parish coordinator, Dave Allen, started with a bluebell walk in Marbury Park, followed by board games and a shared supper in the parish hall. Family Groups Chaplain, Fr Pat Munroe, and parish coordinator Hazel Dove joined the gathering along with a group from Our Lady and the Apostles Parish, Stockport. Chris and Vince Joyce, from St Michael's and St Bernadette's parish, Whitefield also attended the event and told us afterwards, "the atmosphere was lovely and it was really good to be there."

I was fortunate enough to attend the filming in St Mary's last weekend on what turned out to be a perfect spring day.  Fr John Warrington and the St Mary's team, led by parish coordinator Barry Sproat, couldn't have been more welcoming.  The crew were able to gather interviews in the morning and then film the shared lunch in the parish hall.  Group leader John Cassidy wrote afterwards:-

'Saturday’s DVD gathering was really lovely. Despite it being a busy month with Confirmations and First Communions, Fr John made time for one of the early morning interviews. Then at 12.00 about sixty came through the doors carrying delicious dishes that filled three large tables. There were representatives from five of our family groups. Eleven of our group attended, including Sarah (who inspired the gathering with her beautiful ‘helping hands’ prayer). We were delighted to welcome a few other parishioners too. These included two Sisters from the convent. Sr Judith Mary began our meal with a lovely ‘Grace’ and the shrieks of delight from the children’s activities table made a happy background noise to our gathering. Ray provided a jolly music ‘mash-up’ in which all energetically participated. The cameramen filmed unobtrusively before and during the proceedings and in their disarming manner, coaxed short interviews from many, including the children!'

The DVD will be shown to diocesan leaders at the Proclaim '15 National Evangelisation Event in July and then form part of a resource pack to support the growth and development of Family Groups in England and Wales.

For more information on the Family Group Movement and enquiries to the Steering Group about developing Family Groups in your area please email:

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Family Groups Gather in Wales to Share their Experiences

The Archdiocese of Cardiff has Family Groups in two of its parishes and these groups form an integral part of parish life. A grant from the bishops' Celebrating Family Fund is now enabling the Family Life Commission to build on this foundation in 2015-16.  Family Life Worker, Joanne White, co-hosted an awareness raising day for Family Groups in Caerphilly on Saturday 21st March where the groups welcomed people from across the Archdiocese and further afield to share their experiences of building and sustaining Family Groups.

Joanne told us, 'It was a very affirming gathering and there was a definite sense of friendship, borne out of a common purpose and experience, which didn't detract from the uniqueness of each group or its parish.  One couple left the gathering hoping to speak to their parish priest about developing Family Groups.  I will offer all the support I can to them and to any other parish in the Archdiocese wishing to explore the concept further.' For more information please contact Joanne White, Family Life Worker. Tel: 02920 365964 email:

Other news:

  • In September 2014 the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton was awarded funding through the Celebrating Family Fund to pilot Family Groups in the Diocese and research their impact on parish life. Kat Pond joined the Diocese's Pastoral Team in January 2015 as the Parish Family Groups Project Officer and has visited and introduced the concept to several parishes. The first launches will take place later this year. 
  • Members of the Steering Group will help to deliver a workshop with the MFL Project Office's Elizabeth Davies, on developing welcoming, family friendly parish communities at the Proclaim '15 National Evangelisation Initiative on 11th July 2015.
For enquiries to the Steering Group or if your parish has any Family Group news that you would like to share on this blog please contact Hannah Moruzzi.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

St Joseph's Parish, Bromley, Joins the Family

Many thanks to John and Penny Cassidy for sharing with us their lovely photo collage of the Family Groups' launch in Bromley last weekend.

We welcome St Joseph's Parish to the family and wish them every happiness on their journey together.  John and Penny (St Mary's Parish, Ipswich) and Glenda Clarke (Our Lady of Victories Parish, Kensington) have been working alongside Fr Tom McHugh and his parish team for the past few months to prepare for the launch.

John told us, "The Family Groups have successfully been launched and in St Joseph's Parish at the moment it’s like the start of the London Marathon (in nearby Greenwich).  Some 55 have already begun their journey, while crowds (yes, literally!) are in the background ready to start.  They just need to be nudged forward and this is already in hand.  The leaders of the nine groups (many more groups predicted) were really positive and will be proactive.  To echo the words of St Paul to his beloved Philippians: “I am sure that God, who began this good work …will carry it on until it is finished.”

For more information about Family Groups in England and Wales and enquiries to the Steering Group please email Hannah Moruzzi at the MFL Project Office

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Christmas Feast Banishes the January Blues for the Rafiki Family Group

Many thanks to Chris and Vince Joyce for sharing the photos of their Family Group's shared Christmas dinner in January!

Chris told us that it was 'an amazing feast' and that the gathering reminded them why they had joined their Family Group in the first place - and stuck with it for the past eight years.

Chris and Vince were recently elected as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Steering Group for Family Groups in England and Wales.

The Steering Group is made up of representatives from nine Family Group parishes and is supported by a Chaplain and regional FAMILIAS (Association for Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Ministry) representatives.

The Steering Group members are all passionate about the gift that Family Groups bring to our parishes and are working together to support and affirm existing Family Groups and to help new Family Groups get off the ground. For more information about Family Groups and for enquiries to the Steering Group please email Hannah Moruzzi at the MFL Project Office.

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